Brooklyn has a thriving and prolific community of artists, artisans, craftspeople, and designers that puts it on par with other hubs of craftsmanship around the world. Products bearing the Brooklyn-Made certification are coveted by collectors and design aesthetes interested in authenticity and the backstory of pieces they acquire. Once a year, the borough showcases its maker community in an event known as Brooklyn Designs, now in its 15th year presented by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and co-produced with Novità Communications.
The borough’s rich design heritage, iconic style, and bustling creative community are rooted in time-honored techniques and contemporary style, a mix of old and new in small batch and limited run production. In an age of mass-produced, disposable consumer goods, Brooklyn makers return us to the value of something well-built, by hand with heart. Here’s a look at some of my favorite design finds from emerging designers and established brands.
Francis Assadi draws inspiration from his background in film, photography and design and his work with Lebanese craftsmen. His latest collection fuses a love for the modern with the aesthetic sensibilities of various cultures.
Token draws on the European Arts and Crafts movement, Chinese landscape painting and Abstract Expressionism to produce unique, atelier-style furniture.
Emerging brand Shuya Design creates custom furniture that combines wood, marble and other materials in unconventional ways.
Brooklyn is also known for its concentration of architect-turned-product designers including Ot/tra that creates hand-crafted furniture complementing its architecture practice.
Fitchwork is another Brooklyn contemporary maker standout for its ornamental pendants sintered from powdered nylon.
Quiet Town, Inc. creates stylish shower curtains using ethical, quality materials including 100 percent, 10-ounce cotton milled in the USA. The co-founders created the company because “they were tired of buying pieces they needed but didn’t love.”
The 2018 edition took place at the Brooklyn Museum, kicking off the first weekend of NYCxDESIGN from May 12-13.
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